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Intel's NAND-based solid state drive
Intel enters the storage market with a solid offering

Intel Corporation announced today its entry into solid state drives with the Intel Z-U130. Aimed at delivering performance and value, the drives are based on NAND flash memory with standard USB 2.0/1.1 interfaces. Intel says that the advantages of its Z-U130 over hard disk drives and removable USB storage devices are faster boot times, embedded code storage, rapid data access and low-power storage alternatives.

Solid state drives enjoy several advantages over traditional hard disk drives, such as faster start-up, faster read times, lower seek times, less power consumption, silent operation and lower weight. Solid state drives should also be more reliable as there are no moving parts involved in the device’s operation. On the flip side, magnetic-based drives may endure better after a great number of read/write cycles and faster write times. For the foreseeable future, traditional hard disk drives will also enjoy the cost advantage at large capacities.

“Solid state drive technology offers many benefits over traditional hard disk drives including improved performance and reliability,” said Randy Wilhelm, vice president and general manager of Intel’s NAND Products Group. “The Intel solid state drive technology provides robust performance, while offering Intel’s industry leading quality, validation and reliability for a wide variety of embedded applications.”

The Z-U130 product comes in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB densities. The 1GB and 2GB versions are already in production, with the 4GB to be added in April. The top-end 8GB drive isn’t slated for production until December.

With reads of 28MB per second and write speeds of 20 MB per second, the solid state drive is a storage alternative for common PC or embedded application operations such as locating boot code, operating systems and commonly accessed libraries. Other future applications of the technology include video game consoles and handheld systems.

Intel is positioning its solid state drives as a hard disk drive replacement technology for emerging market notebooks and low-cost, fully featured PCs and other embedded systems. Current price projections place Intel’s 4GB value SSD on par with 1.8-inch HDDs, but Intel expects costs to fall as it ramps up volume production. Intel predicts that its 4GB product will be priced below comparable 1.8-inch drives by the second half of this year, with it surpassing 2.5-inch drives by 2008. By 2009, Intel believes that its 8GB SSD will cost less than any comparable 1.8-inch or 2.5-inch HDD.

While Intel is labeling its Z-U130 as a value-oriented product, several solutions would receive a performance enhancement with the use of a SSD for system booting. Servers could start up faster if its boot information were stored on flash-based memory. In addition, it will be used in Intel embedded solutions for routers and point of sale terminals, which would also benefit from the faster system boots.

The product can be easily integrated into original manufacturers’ designs because of its USB 2.0 and 1.1 compliant interfaces, 2x5 USB connector and standard single-level cell NAND in thin small outline package (TSOP) devices. The company is also considering next-generation products that could incorporate cost-effective multi-level cell (MLC) technology.

Intel plans to distinguish its product from other solid state offerings with extensive validation, including more than 1,000 hours of accelerated reliability testing, and is expecting to meet an average mean time between failure specification of five million hours.

Other makers of solid state drives include ASUS, Fujitsu, Samsung, Adtron, SanDisk and Ritek. Last week, an analyst pegged Apple to soon be using solid state drive technology in the next generation of MacBooks. It looks like solid state drives are ready for prime time.



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Comparable drives?
By Frank M on 3/12/2007 7:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know when the last time I saw a 4 or 8GB 2.5" drive, never mind 3.5".

Wouldn't a cost-per-GB rating be more appropriate?




RE: Comparable drives?
By Visual on 3/12/2007 8:41:21 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, its what i thought too.
and even when there were still some hdds with capacities this small, they were priced ridiculously high, just because they were getting harder to find.

its like right now, you can in theory still find a 40 or 60gb hdd, but they cost almost the same as 80-100gb models, give or take a few bucks.


RE: Comparable drives?
By TomZ on 3/12/2007 8:54:43 AM , Rating: 1
I agree, it is an odd comparison. With 1.8" drives past 100GB and 2.5" drives exceeding that, it doesn't make sense to me to compare this SSD to any magnetic HDD. Also, from the description, I don't think it is even intended to compete against magnetic HDDs. This drive is basically a cheap USB flash key on a board that can be easily integrated into a device or PC.

One other thing I don't understand is the relationship of this device to Intel's Robson technology. Are these modules used by Robson, or is that a separate development?


RE: Comparable drives?
By crystal clear on 3/13/2007 1:23:55 AM , Rating: 1
I dropped in a hint on this- in my response to you earlier.
Timing!!! At the right time & place!!!

RE: The Laptop overhaul...............
By crystal clear on 3/10/07, Rating: 2
By crystal clear on 3/10/2007 11:21:08 PM , Rating: 2

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=6423

Quote

Samsung introduced a 4 GB SSD compatible with ReadyBoost(Vista), to improve system responiveness-enables users to avoid the hundres of annoying multi second delays they experience everyday when moving within and between frequently used applications.

Vista automatically compresses all data stored in a ReadyBoost device,the 4GB drive would in practice act as UP TO 8 GB of user data.

The 4 GB SSD can work in TANDEM with a hybrid hard drive,coming into play as a SECONDARY SOURCE of cached data.

This PERFORMANCE BOOSTER (4 GB SSD) can be located virtually
anywhere on the MOBO connected through the ATA port.

(I intentionally cut short the explainations -look up at Samsung site for more detailed explanation-SAMSUNG 4 GB SSD)

This is good for people like you/me that constantly use their laptops exclusively for Business purposes & LACK THE TIME-where SPEED is the criteria & NOT COST.
Where LAPTOPS are DESKTOPS & the SERVER is your Backup

Unquote-

Now you have the Intel response to Samsung.


RE: Comparable drives?
By crystal clear on 3/13/2007 1:52:46 AM , Rating: 1
Santa Rosa, is being officially unveiled on the 9th of May 2007


"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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